Highpointing: Hoosier Hill, Indiana
August 1, 2018
The highest point in Indiana, Hoosier Hill, can be a bit anti-climatic if you aren’t in the right mindset. It’s in a rural part of the state, there doesn’t appear to be much else around, it’s tucked away in a dense grove with no real views, and you can park and be on the “summit” in less than a minute. So how do you get over eleven minutes for the Indiana episode? You temper your expectations and realize Hoosier Hill and its area are more interesting than it first appears.
Writing this episode was something that kept being put off and I had convinced myself this would be one of the more difficult episodes to write for the series. Part of this assumption stems from my initial impressions of the highpoint itself. As stated in the episode, this was my first “official” highpoint, having stopped here in August 2013. Not much had changed when I returned almost five years later. My impression of it then is still the same as today; Hoosier Hill really pushes the definition of the word hill.
With that thought firmly lodged in my mind it created a bit of writer’s block. The writing for this episode began back in the first months of 2017, but there was a struggle with what to say. The “eureka” moment happened when I started looking at the benefits of the terrain itself and discovered the transportation hook. As it turns out there is some cool history in the area, enough that I couldn’t include it all. Perhaps they’ll make it in if I ever get around to doing a director’s cut.
I shot this episode by myself and am pleased how it turned out. Having been to the location before I had a good idea on what to expect. It was a long day-trip from Nashville, but the weather cooperated and I was able to film in four different locations. Since it was self-filmed to add a bit of production-value there is footage with the camera mount both inside and outside the car. There are also two voice overs, one by Brian Smith and the other by Zach Campbell.
Music for the episode is from two sources. The “Earth Prelude” piece is by Kevin MacLeod, incompetech.com. It anchors the background material. For the Hoosier Hill section I used a piece entitled “Gimme Back My Ya Ya” by Dan Lebowitz. It adds a bit of humor to it since Indiana is one of those highpoints that is best visited with a sense of fun.
I’m happy how this episode turned out. Indiana started as a challenge and ended up a solid episode. In some ways Hoosier Hill is opposite of Hawkeye Point in Iowa. Two rural, agrarian highpoints with different community views on them. Hawkeye Point is beloved, whereas at Hoosier Hill the community is ambivalent at best. Hopefully that attitude will change over time and Hoosier Hill will be embraced by its neighbors. If you find yourself in eastern Indiana on Interstate 70 take a half hour to head up to Hoosier Hill. It’s a nice, quiet stop that also highlights a bit of the absurd, fun nature of highpointing. Also pro-tip, bring bug repellent, the mosquitoes can be relentless.
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